Chris Connor & Maynard Ferguson: Summertime
Double Exposure (Collector's Choice 319)
Chet Ferretti, Rolf Ericson, Bill Berry (trumpets), Ray Winslow, Kenny Rupp (trombones), Joe Farrell, Willie Maiden, Frank Hittner, Lanny Morgan (reeds), Jaki Byard (piano), Charlie Sanders (bass), Rufus Jones (drums).
Composed by George Gershwin & DuBose Heyward.
Recorded: New York, January 23, 1961
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Chris Connor and Maynard Ferguson worked together while in Stan Kenton's band, and when they both became jazz stars a few years later, they recorded two separate albums together, one for Ferguson's label, Roulette, and the other for Connor's label, Atlantic. Their version of "Summertime," which kicks off the Atlantic LP, starts with a highly rhythmic duet between the nearly slapped bass of Sanders and the tight snare of Jones, and things just build and build from there. Connor's opening theme statement sounds defiant and rhythmically sure, holding back just slightly in the opening chorus and building as the trombones, trumpets and saxes all join in with riffs that add to the growing intensity. Ferguson's trumpet solo continues the upward climb until the climax of the arrangement where trumpet and band exchange improvised ideas and written shout chorus passages. Then suddenly the volume comes back down for Connor's return. The gradual decrescendo from there to the end doesn't work nearly as well as the crescendo that came before, but the fadeout (usually the bane of jazz fans and critics) actually gives this arrangement a needed balance.
Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe